Pella boys basketball

The Pella boys basketball celebrates qualifying for the state tournament last season.

PELLA — Coming off of the school’s 17th state tournament birth, Pella head coach Derek Schulte will look to replace nine seniors from last year’s 19-6 squad that led Class 3A in scoring. It will be a tall task but with a good group of guards and shooters, the Dutch have the potential to be a dangerous team again.

“We have a guard oriented team that has the potential to be a dangerous offensive team,” Schulte said. “We have a good mix of shooters and players that can attack the rim.”

Pella returns five players with varsity experience from last year in the likes of seniors Grant Nelson, Josh Warner and Ryan Mace and juniors Karl Miller and Parker Elder.

Nelson returns the most scoring after averaging 9.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.3 steals a year ago while shooting 45.7% from the floor and 32.4% from three. Look for him to step into a big role this season for the Dutch.

Elder (5.7 PPG, 3 RPG) and Warner (4.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.9 APG) should also see bigger roles this year.

Joining those five will be another five players that could see time in the rotation in Noah Allen, Preston Rowe, Keegan Hansen, Caleb Van Sant and Shaun Hemming.

Once again without a true center, expect Pella to flying up and down the court looking to score in a variety of ways. They’ll have to replace the likes of Logan Shetterly, Trenton Sturgeon and John Oltman, who together accounted for 45 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals per game.

It may take some time for the Dutch to settle in, but they think they can be tough to beat once they do.

“We have to replace our top three scorers from last year so it may take some time for our team to adjust to new roles,” Schulte said. “We are excited for a few of our guys to take a big step forward this season.”

Pella finished third in the Little Hawkeye Conference last season after going 9-5 in conference play. Norwalk and Indianola both finished 12-2 to lead the LHC, which loses a bit of star power this year with Oskaloosa’s Xavier Foster heading to Iowa State and Norwalk’s Bowen Born going to UNI.

“We will be a team that continues to improve over the course of the season and want to be playing our best basketball in February and March,” Schulte said. “The LHC will look different this year but will continue to be one of the best conferences in the state. We are excited to get started!”

Colin Peters can be reached at 641-672-2581, by email at cpeters@oskyherald.com or on Twitter @ColinPetersOH.

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